The selection committee inside the media relations department based its decisions on things like letters of recommendation from institutions where the journalists worked, or from their employers. Journalists are also supposed to sign attendance sheets and the department was able to see how committed correspondents were to the job of political reporting.
There were also other reasons. For example, Abu Bakr says, Afaq was honoured because of the work of one particularly distinguished female reporter. And Al Sharqiyah was awarded a prize because the channel had worked hard to broadcast almost all political activities; a similar reason was behind the prize given to Iraqiyah. “And Rudaw was honoured because of efforts made by its correspondents covering Parliament over the past three years,” Abu Bakr told NIQASH.
Media should be judged on professionalism and integrity, notes another local journalist, Ziyad al-Ajili, who also heads the Iraqi media advocacy organisation, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. “This kind of discrimination will create even more biased media and rewarding journalists like this makes other members of the media exaggerate their nationalist or sectarian feelings in their work. Journalists are being rewarded for abandoning their professionalism.”
(Media image via Shutterstock)